Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Ruth Ann Armitage, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Krishnaswamy Rengan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ross Nord, Ph.D.


Plasma chemical oxidation has been proposed as a “nondestructive” method for preparing samples from archaeological materials for radiocarbon dating using accelerator mass spectrometry. However, the chemical effects of low-temperature, low-pressure plasma discharges on fragile archaeological materials are not understood. It is believed that reactions only occur at the surface of the treated samples. Therefore, we have used Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy with attenuated total reflectance sampling (ATR-FTIR) to examine changes in the chemical nature of the surface of representative modern and archaeological samples upon plasma treatment. Samples that were treated with destructive wet chemical methods, e.g., treatment with sodium hydroxide solution, were compared to plasma-treated samples, as well. This work will help to clarify the efficacy of plasma treatments on archaeological materials to prepare samples for radiocarbon dating and as an alternate, less destructive, method for removing surface contamination.

Included in

Chemistry Commons